A Conversation About Wedding Dress Shopping

Friend: Did you find your wedding dress?

Me: I did!

Friend: Did you cry when you tried it on? Because you knew it was *the one*?

Me: LOL, no.

Here’s the thing: Say Yes to the Dress is a wonderful show that I often binge-watch while shoveling Skinny Pop into my mouth, but it’s also a web of lies.

In fact, there were a number of lies I was told leading up to the actual act of shopping for my wedding dress. Like…

  • “You’ll get champagne while you shop!” I wish this were true. I probably would’ve bought a dress a lot faster than I did if it were. But 4/4 stores gave us water in a disposable cup, not a glass of champs in sight.
  • “You’ll find your dress at the first store.” This was 100% untrue for me. It took a solid four stores, and a minor anxiety attack at the third store because I was convinced I wouldn’t find anything. Finding the right dress can often be hard, and that’s OK! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • “Wedding dress shopping is fun!!!” I’m not saying that buying a fancy dress isn’t fun, but it’s also really stressful. As someone who had no idea what I wanted, dress shopping was more of a task to be checked off than anything else.
  • “You’re gonna bawl your eyes out.” OK, to be fair I did cry at one point. I walked out in what I thought was a truly hideous gown, and my mom began to cry, which led me to say, “Why are you crying?!” And then I cried. I cry easily. I was also really hungry that day. Don’t shop while hungry.
  • “When you find *the one,* you’ll just know it.” I definitely knew that I liked the dress I ended up buying, but did I “just know it”? Not really. And I’ve had to unfollow most of the wedding sites on Instagram that I used to enjoy so that I stop having buyers remorse about my dress. There are so many options out there, but you’ll know you’ve found *the one* when you can see yourself getting married in it, which I did.

What they should really tell you before dress shopping, and the one piece of advice I’ll give is this: Don’t feel badly if you don’t cry, or don’t have a *this is THE ONE* moment. All you need to feel is that this is a dress you can get married in — find that dress, buy that dress, and then pour yourself some champagne afterward (because the store won’t be pouring one for you, but you deserve it).

How To Write An Amazing Plot Twist

I love a good page turner. There are few things more satisfying to me then starting a book and not physically being able to put it down. So much so that you look up from said book only to realize that you’ve been in your pajamas all day, and now it’s nighttime.

Such was the wonderful case when I read Jessie Rosen’s Dead Ringer — a YA novel that is chock-full of secrets, and has one of the most amazing plot twists I’ve ever read. Seriously, this plot twist will make you scream. I was yelling at this book. I didn’t know I was capable of that.

Which is why I asked Jessie for advice on how to write a great plot twist. Not only because I aspire to be a writer like Jessie someday, but because I wanted a look inside the mind of someone who came up with this plot twist. Jessie, in turn, wrote all about it for today’s guest post. Her advice is, as always, on point and full of unexpected turns! Buy Dead Ringer here so we can discuss this plot twist together, please.DeadRingerCover

How To Write An Amazing Plot Twist, by Jessie Rosen

There is little I love more than a gasp-inducing, throw-the-book-across-the-room, shout a four-letter-word plot twist. BRUCE WILLIS IS ALSO DEAD?! SHE’S HER SISTER AND HER DAUGHTER?! HANS WAS EVIL ALL ALONG??!!

But loving them and writing one are two very different things. And yet, when conceiving of the idea behind my first YA novel, DEAD RINGER, plot twist was the whole point. I (like to) think I pulled it off (Erin thought so!). Here are my tips for twisting a plot so hard it makes your reader’s heads spin.

STEP ONE: Start with a completely insane idea that you’ll never be able to pull off

The twist wasn’t an after thought for DEAD RINGER; it was the entire pitch. I started with, imagine if __________?!?! And then I spent at least a month thinking, nope, too ridiculous. Coming up with a way for it to not be complete and utter insanity was my job. It can be tricky to reverse engineer a twist into an existing world. I recommend twisting first and straightening second. Also good advice when dancing.

STEP TWO: Decide when and how you’re going to do the big reveal

Again, work backwards. If you know when and how you’d like to spill the story’s biggest beans you can figure out how much meat you need before and after that moment. I wanted a very late shock ala GIRL ON A TRAIN, but a book like GONE GIRL features a mid-point reveal which is equally excellent. Pick the “Girl” you prefer, but know before you go.

STEP THREE: Select your red herrings

Herrings, plural. When developing characters to fill out your world you need to consider who we’ll think is involved in the mystery and why. I have one sort of red herring and one real red herring (and as much pickled herring as possible, always). A lot of plot came from that fact and needed to be carefully woven.

STEP FOUR: Never ever lie to your reader

You’re keeping a big, big secret, but every detail still has to make sense when the reader finds out what’s been up all along. It’s so fun to play with dialogue, language and description that dances that like (watch THE SIXTH SENSE for a master class), but do not step over!

STEP FIVE: pour everything you’ve got into your big reveal scene

In DEAD RINGER I reveal the twist to the audience in once scene but to a character in another. Double bang for my buck! Both of those moments were my absolute favorites to write and, shockingly, came the easiest. What does this say about my mental state? Let’s not dwell on that.

And finally STEP SIX: Read as many twisted plot examples as you possibly can

Getting it right is about feeling what works and doesn’t from your own reader’s ear. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat (please forgive the aggressive cat-related saying, Erin), but this is your big Hitchcock moment, so you get to make it your own.

Good luck! God speed! Coffee helps! Can’t wait to read it.

The Problem With Choosing A Gummy Bear As Your Spirit Animal

I should start this off by saying that back in 2012, I declared my spirit animal to be a gummy bear. Which is just about as serious a commitment I’ve made to anyone ever. Maybe even more serious than my impending nuptials, if I’m being honest.

animalHowever, after closer inspection of the term “Spirit Animal” on Urban Dictionary dot com, I’m beginning to wonder if I committed too quickly to this gummy bear animal.
SpiritAnimal

Gummy Bear:

Small in size, vibrant in color, boxy in stature, with a rounded abdomen that could be described as “squishy.” Skills include soaking up vodka, sitting in bowls, and singing and performing in music videos. When faced with being an ice cream topping, they turn into chewy, almost painfully hard rocks, and they’ve also been known to lie about their real flavor. (The green ones are strawberry flavored. Yes, green = strawberry, according to gummy bears.)

I’m not saying I don’t embody a significant number of these things. Because I’m only 5’2, just a few inches shy of being the legal height of a little person, I am a bit boxy. My red hair is arguably a ‘vibrant’ hue and, on more than one occasion, I’ve soaked up a significant amount of vodka.

But turning to stone around ice cream? I’m just not OK with that. Had I given this more than a passing thought, I would’ve picked a more sensible animal to embody my spirit, like a sloth, or Wild Turkey. #regrets